There are few better places in the world for gin & tonic lovers than London, where the spirit is in the midst of a distilling renaissance and tonic is experiencing an artisanal revival of its own. But for guests heading to The Chesterfield Mayfair, there’s more than classic G&Ts in store. Instead, think elegant balloon glasses, exotic garnishes, and a selection of only the finest, small-batch ingredients.
You’re cordially invited to the Gin & Tonic Experience. Consider it akin to a G&T tasting menu: tipplers can select from four different menus, each of which consists of three bespoke gin and tonic water combinations. In this context, the cocktail is imbued with an almost culinary sensibility, and guests are encouraged to sample combinations ranging from savoury to sweet, smooth to floral, citrus to spiced. Crowning each pairing is a hand-chosen garnish, selected to perfectly complement each G&T’s tasting notes.
Giving us the full introduction to the Gin & Tonic Experience are our very own Biagio Sarubbi, Food & Beverage Manager at the Chesterfield Mayfair, and Bar Manager, Edgar Serra Pou. Read on for titbits about what’s on offer – and why the gin & tonic could even be replacing wine at your next dinner party.
Tell us more about the evolution of the gin & tonic. How have G&T serves changed?
‘Nowadays, many guests are much more educated about spirits and cocktails, and are after ever more particular flavours when ordering a drink. In order to cater to that, we’ve introduced a few changes in the way that we serve gin G&Ts.
First is the glass: we use a balloon glass, which enables the guest to better appreciate the different flavours and botanicals in the drink than the typical highball. Second is a new attention given to tonic pairings. We offer a range of six tonics which have been carefully matched with the different gins.’
Your tastings feature G&Ts described varyingly as savoury, smooth, floral, etc. What do you think about the potential of cocktails as pairings for food, and will we start seeing more cocktail-food pairings in the future?
‘Our idea is to guide guests through a gin & tonic flavour tour, which will enable them to discover completely different gin styles and even find their preferred category.
Cocktail and food pairings are already a reality. More and more chefs and mixologists are working together to create different culinary experiences. At our Gin & Tonic Experience, we’ll be serving the drinks alongside specially selected canapés.’
What are some of the most unusual botanicals or garnishes that you’ve encountered, both in gin distillation and in gin serves?
‘When talking about botanical-heavy gins, one must-try is Monkey 47. This particular gin has an incredible 47 botanicals, including cranberry, which hasn’t been used elsewhere, and clocks in at 47% alcohol (hence the name!). Beyond that, you can really expect to encounter a huge range in both botanicals and garnishes: everything from angelica, cardamom, cucumber, and almonds to cloves, elderflower, and different teas.’
Of the new crop of small-batch, artisanal gins, both domestic and international, what are some of the most exciting must-trys?
‘Monkey 47 is definitely a must-try among spice-forward gins, Martin Miller’s is a standout amidst more floral gins, and No.3 Gin is lovely for its dry finish. And you can’t forget Sipsmith Gin, with their fantastic, London-based story.’
There’s now an increasing number of craft tonics available alongside artisanal gins. Any quick rules of thumb for creating complementary pairings?
As for specific pairings, I can certainly recommend No.3 Gin with Fentimans, garnished with edible flowers and grapefruit peel. Another great match is Martin Millers with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water, garnished with strawberries and black pepper.’
Join the conversation at #ChesterfieldGin.
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